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64 Publications

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    Tjian LabWu Lab
    04/15/08 | The nucleosome remodeling factor (NURF) regulates genes involved in Drosophila innate immunity.
    Kwon SY, Xiao H, Glover BP, Tjian R, Wu C, Badenhorst P
    Developmental Biology. 2008 Apr 15;316(2):538-47. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100640108

    The Drosophila nucleosome remodeling factor (NURF) is an ISWI-containing chromatin remodeling complex that catalyzes ATP-dependent nucleosome sliding. By sliding nucleosomes, NURF has the ability to alter chromatin structure and regulate transcription. Previous studies have shown that mutation of Drosophila NURF induces melanotic tumors, implicating NURF in innate immune function. Here, we show that NURF mutants exhibit identical innate immune responses to gain-of-function mutants in the Drosophila JAK/STAT pathway. Using microarrays, we identify a common set of target genes that are activated in both mutants. In silico analysis of promoter sequences of these defines a consensus regulatory element comprising a STAT-binding sequence overlapped by a binding-site for the transcriptional repressor Ken. NURF interacts physically and genetically with Ken. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) localizes NURF to Ken-binding sites in hemocytes, suggesting that Ken recruits NURF to repress STAT responders. Loss of NURF leads to precocious activation of STAT target genes.

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    Tjian Lab
    01/18/08 | Structural changes in TAF4b-TFIID correlate with promoter selectivity.
    Liu W, Coleman RA, Grob P, King DS, Florens L, Washburn MP, Geles KG, Yang JL, Ramey V, Nogales E, Tjian R
    Molecular Cell. 2008 Jan 18;29(1):81-91. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100640108

    Proper ovarian development requires the cell type-specific transcription factor TAF4b, a subunit of the core promoter recognition complex TFIID. We present the 35 A structure of a cell type-specific core promoter recognition complex containing TAF4b and TAF4 (4b/4-IID), which is responsible for directing transcriptional synergy between c-Jun and Sp1 at a TAF4b target promoter. As a first step toward correlating potential structure/function relationships of the prototypic TFIID versus 4b/4-IID, we have compared their 3D structures by electron microscopy and single-particle reconstruction. These studies reveal that TAF4b incorporation into TFIID induces an open conformation at the lobe involved in TFIIA and putative activator interactions. Importantly, this open conformation correlates with differential activator-dependent transcription and promoter recognition by 4b/4-IID. By combining functional and structural analysis, we find that distinct localized structural changes in a megadalton macromolecular assembly can significantly alter its activity and lead to a TAF4b-induced reprogramming of promoter specificity.

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    Tjian Lab
    11/15/07 | Transcription of histone gene cluster by differential core-promoter factors.
    Isogai Y, Keles S, Prestel M, Hochheimer A, Tjian R
    Genes & Development. 2007 Nov 15;21(22):2936-49. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100640108

    The 100 copies of tandemly arrayed Drosophila linker (H1) and core (H2A/B and H3/H4) histone gene cluster are coordinately regulated during the cell cycle. However, the molecular mechanisms that must allow differential transcription of linker versus core histones prevalent during development remain elusive. Here, we used fluorescence imaging, biochemistry, and genetics to show that TBP (TATA-box-binding protein)-related factor 2 (TRF2) selectively regulates the TATA-less Histone H1 gene promoter, while TBP/TFIID targets core histone transcription. Importantly, TRF2-depleted polytene chromosomes display severe chromosomal structural defects. This selective usage of TRF2 and TBP provides a novel mechanism to differentially direct transcription within the histone cluster. Moreover, genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-on-chip analyses coupled with RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated functional studies revealed that TRF2 targets several classes of TATA-less promoters of >1000 genes including those driving transcription of essential chromatin organization and protein synthesis genes. Our studies establish that TRF2 promoter recognition complexes play a significantly more central role in governing metazoan transcription than previously appreciated.

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    Tjian Lab
    09/01/07 | Switching of the core transcription machinery during myogenesis.
    Deato MD, Tjian R
    Genes & Development. 2007 Sep 1;21(17):2137-49. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100640108

    Transcriptional mechanisms that govern cellular differentiation typically include sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins and chromatin-modifying activities. These regulatory factors are assumed necessary and sufficient to drive both divergent programs of proliferation and terminal differentiation. By contrast, potential contributions of the basal transcriptional apparatus to orchestrate cell-specific gene expression have been poorly explored. In order to probe alternative mechanisms that control differentiation, we have assessed the fate of the core promoter recognition complex, TFIID, during skeletal myogenesis. Here we report that differentiation of myoblast to myotubes involves the disruption of the canonical holo-TFIID and replacement by a novel TRF3/TAF3 (TBP-related factor 3/TATA-binding protein-associated factor 3) complex. This required switching of core promoter complexes provides organisms a simple yet effective means to selectively turn on one transcriptional program while silencing many others. Although this drastic but parsimonious transcriptional switch had previously escaped our attention, it may represent a more general mechanism for regulating cell type-specific terminal differentiation.

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    Tjian Lab
    08/24/07 | Daniel E. Koshland, Jr. 1920-2007.
    Tjian R
    Cell. 2007 Aug 24;130:579-80. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100640108
    Tjian Lab
    01/15/07 | IRES-mediated functional coupling of transcription and translation amplifies insulin receptor feedback.
    Marr MT, D’Alessio JA, Puig O, Tjian R
    Genes & Development. 2007 Jan 15;21(2):175-83. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100640108

    It is generally accepted that the growth rate of an organism is modulated by the availability of nutrients. One common mechanism to control cellular growth is through the global down-regulation of cap-dependent translation by eIF4E-binding proteins (4E-BPs). Here, we report evidence for a novel mechanism that allows eukaryotes to coordinate and selectively couple transcription and translation of target genes in response to a nutrient and growth signaling cascade. The Drosophila insulin-like receptor (dINR) pathway incorporates 4E-BP resistant cellular internal ribosome entry site (IRES) containing mRNAs, to functionally couple transcriptional activation with differential translational control in a cell that is otherwise translationally repressed by 4E-BP. Although examples of cellular IRESs have been previously reported, their critical role mediating a key physiological response has not been well documented. Our studies reveal an integrated transcriptional and translational response mechanism specifically dependent on a cellular IRES that coordinates an essential physiological signal responsible for monitoring nutrient and cell growth conditions.

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    Tjian Lab
    01/10/07 | Novel TRF1/BRF target genes revealed by genome-wide analysis of Drosophila Pol III transcription.
    Isogai Y, Takada S, Tjian R, Kele\c s S
    The EMBO Journal. 2007 Jan 10;26(1):79-89. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100640108

    Metazoans have evolved multiple paralogues of the TATA binding protein (TBP), adding another tunable level of gene control at core promoters. While TBP-related factor 1 (TRF1) shares extensive homology with TBP and can direct both Pol II and Pol III transcription in vitro, TRF1 target sites in vivo have remained elusive. Here, we report the genome-wide identification of TRF1-binding sites using high-resolution genome tiling microarrays. We found 354 TRF1-binding sites genome-wide with approximately 78% of these sites displaying colocalization with BRF. Strikingly, the majority of TRF1 target genes are Pol III-dependent small noncoding RNAs such as tRNAs and small nonmessenger RNAs. We provide direct evidence that the TRF1/BRF complex is functionally required for the activity of two novel TRF1 targets (7SL RNA and small nucleolar RNAs). Our studies suggest that unlike most other eukaryotic organisms that rely on TBP for Pol III transcription, in Drosophila and possibly other insects the alternative TRF1/BRF complex appears responsible for the initiation of all known classes of Pol III transcription.

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    Tjian Lab
    08/15/06 | TAF4 nucleates a core subcomplex of TFIID and mediates activated transcription from a TATA-less promoter.
    Wright KJ, Marr MT, Tjian R
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2006 Aug 15;103(33):12347-52. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100640108

    Activator-dependent recruitment of TFIID initiates formation of the transcriptional preinitiation complex. TFIID binds core promoter DNA elements and directs the assembly of other general transcription factors, leading to binding of RNA polymerase II and activation of RNA synthesis. How TATA box-binding protein (TBP) and the TBP-associated factors (TAFs) are assembled into a functional TFIID complex with promoter recognition and coactivator activities in vivo remains unknown. Here, we use RNAi to knock down specific TFIID subunits in Drosophila tissue culture cells to determine which subunits are most critical for maintaining stability of TFIID in vivo. Contrary to expectations, we find that TAF4 rather than TBP or TAF1 plays the most critical role in maintaining stability of the complex. Our analysis also indicates that TAF5, TAF6, TAF9, and TAF12 play key roles in stability of the complex, whereas TBP, TAF1, TAF2, and TAF11 contribute very little to complex stability. Based on our results, we propose that holo-TFIID comprises a stable core subcomplex containing TAF4, TAF5, TAF6, TAF9, and TAF12 decorated with peripheral subunits TAF1, TAF2, TAF11, and TBP. Our initial functional studies indicate a specific and significant role for TAF1 and TAF4 in mediating transcription from a TATA-less, downstream core promoter element (DPE)-containing promoter, whereas a TATA-containing, DPE-less promoter was far less dependent on these subunits. In contrast to both TAF1 and TAF4, RNAi knockdown of TAF5 had little effect on transcription from either class of promoter. These studies significantly alter previous models for the assembly, structure, and function of TFIID.

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    Tjian Lab
    08/10/06 | An ARC/Mediator subunit required for SREBP control of cholesterol and lipid homeostasis.
    Yang F, Vought BW, Satterlee JS, Walker AK, Jim Sun Z, Watts JL, DeBeaumont R, Saito RM, Hyberts SG, Yang S, Macol C, Iyer L, Tjian R, van den Heuvel S, Hart AC, Wagner G, Näär AM
    Nature. 2006 Aug 10;442(7103):700-4. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100640108

    The sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP) family of transcription activators are critical regulators of cholesterol and fatty acid homeostasis. We previously demonstrated that human SREBPs bind the CREB-binding protein (CBP)/p300 acetyltransferase KIX domain and recruit activator-recruited co-factor (ARC)/Mediator co-activator complexes through unknown mechanisms. Here we show that SREBPs use the evolutionarily conserved ARC105 (also called MED15) subunit to activate target genes. Structural analysis of the SREBP-binding domain in ARC105 by NMR revealed a three-helix bundle with marked similarity to the CBP/p300 KIX domain. In contrast to SREBPs, the CREB and c-Myb activators do not bind the ARC105 KIX domain, although they interact with the CBP KIX domain, revealing a surprising specificity among structurally related activator-binding domains. The Caenorhabditis elegans SREBP homologue SBP-1 promotes fatty acid homeostasis by regulating the expression of lipogenic enzymes. We found that, like SBP-1, the C. elegans ARC105 homologue MDT-15 is required for fatty acid homeostasis, and show that both SBP-1 and MDT-15 control transcription of genes governing desaturation of stearic acid to oleic acid. Notably, dietary addition of oleic acid significantly rescued various defects of nematodes targeted with RNA interference against sbp-1 and mdt-15, including impaired intestinal fat storage, infertility, decreased size and slow locomotion, suggesting that regulation of oleic acid levels represents a physiologically critical function of SBP-1 and MDT-15. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that ARC105 is a key effector of SREBP-dependent gene regulation and control of lipid homeostasis in metazoans.

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    Tjian Lab
    06/01/06 | Coactivator cross-talk specifies transcriptional output.
    Marr MT, Isogai Y, Wright KJ, Tjian R
    Genes & Development. 2006 Jun 1;20(11):1458-69. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100640108

    Cells often fine-tune gene expression at the level of transcription to generate the appropriate response to a given environmental or developmental stimulus. Both positive and negative influences on gene expression must be balanced to produce the correct level of mRNA synthesis. To this end, the cell uses several classes of regulatory coactivator complexes including two central players, TFIID and Mediator (MED), in potentiating activated transcription. Both of these complexes integrate activator signals and convey them to the basal apparatus. Interestingly, many promoters require both regulatory complexes, although at first glance they may seem to be redundant. Here we have used RNA interference (RNAi) in Drosophila cells to selectively deplete subunits of the MED and TFIID complexes to dissect the contribution of each of these complexes in modulating activated transcription. We exploited the robust response of the metallothionein genes to heavy metal as a model for transcriptional activation by analyzing direct factor recruitment in both heterogeneous cell populations and at the single-cell level. Intriguingly, we find that MED and TFIID interact functionally to modulate transcriptional response to metal. The metal response element-binding transcription factor-1 (MTF-1) recruits TFIID, which then binds promoter DNA, setting up a "checkpoint complex" for the initiation of transcription that is subsequently activated upon recruitment of the MED complex. The appropriate expression level of the endogenous metallothionein genes is achieved only when the activities of these two coactivators are balanced. Surprisingly, we find that the same activator (MTF-1) requires different coactivator subunits depending on the context of the core promoter. Finally, we find that the stability of multi-subunit coactivator complexes can be compromised by loss of a single subunit, underscoring the potential for combinatorial control of transcription activation.

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